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Michael Lowry Welcomes Latest Developments For Lisheen Mines

Lisheen Mine Site, near Moyne, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Deputy Michael Lowry TD has welcomed the announcement, by Minister Heather Humphreys, that the site known as Lisheen Mines, which closed with the loss of some 400 employees at its peak in 2015/16, has now been chosen as the site of a National Bio-economy Centre.

This is an exciting development with the Government having agreed to allocate €4.5 Million Euro from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund for the former mining location situated near the village of Moyne, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. This initiative is in line with present Government policy to invest and devolve enterprise and jobs into the Mid-Tipperary region.

Deputy Lowry stated, “The site at Lisheen is one of the best and most strategic sites in the country. I am delighted that painstaking and time-consuming research, together with detailed planning has now converged to give the county a major project with enormous potential into the future. It combines the particular interests of the 5 publicly funded partners to the project and the private interests they involve.”

“The partnership of Enterprise Ireland, L.I.T., U.C.D., T.C.D. and Tipperary County Council is a premium package with attractive synergies which will guarantee a very exciting project. The State funding for this project, sanctioned by the Government to increase investment and job opportunities in Tipperary is most welcome. It will bring renewed life and reinvigorate the closed Lisheen site, to become a flagship technological innovation centre that will offer enormous opportunities for the future”, the Deputy continued.

In all over €14 million Euro has been approved for projects in the Southern Region, with more than 11 million Euro in all for identified projects in the Eastern and Midlands Region, and a welcome €5 million Euro approved for the Northern and Western regions.


TD Michael Collins Calls For Dáil Bars To Close

Dail Bar

“When money’s tight and hard to get,
and your horse is also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt,
a pint of plain is your only man”
 (Myles na Gopaleen)

Cork Independent TD Mr Michael Collins has called for all Dáil bars to be shut down, in order to set a good example. Back on September 19th, 2010 we at thurles.info called for all Dáil bars to be shut down in order to set a good example.

There are two bars in Dáil Éireann where politicians constantly generate tabs /slates, or, if press reports are correct, in the case of some of our elected representatives ‘the never-never’ system is in operation in relation to non payment, despite same TD’s bounteous salaries and inflated expenses.

Nobody back in 2010 listened to the views of Thurles.Info and sorry Mr Collins, alas, respectfully it is not likely that anyone will hearken to you either.

Mr Collins quite rightly feels that with the important work going on in the Dáil, a bar serving alcohol should not be allowed on the premises. He especially feels that the proposed current amendments to the Road Traffic Bill by our Transport Minister Shane Ross, will force rural pubs out of business, and the Dáil bar should therefore now close, in order to set a strong example and a precedence in relation to alcohol consumption while in the workplace. Imagine if a TD slipped on the tiles and fractured his ankle in the Dáil, after consuming 5 pints of beer; no, the pain doesn’t bear thinking about.

Mr Collins stated: “Shane Ross wants to shut bars in rural Ireland with his new Bill, but he wants to keep the two Dáil bars open.  We hear about thousands and thousands of Euro’s being spent there, with bills left unpaid by politicians. This sends out a very, very bad message to the public, and I feel too much business is being carried on there and it sends the wrong message out to our electorate.”

Sláinte mhaith, Mr Collins, and may you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint.


Tipp Drama Festival Director Pays Tribute To late Biddy White Lennon

Journalist and Author Tom Ryan, Rahealty, Thurles, Reports:-

The Festival Director of the Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival, Mr Donal Duggan, has yesterday paid tribute to the memory of actress/author, Ms Biddy White Lennon, who passed away just last weekend.

The popular actress who played Maggie in the popular RTE soap, “The Riordans”, adjudicated at the Tipperary Drama Festival in Holycross twice, once in 1984 and again in 2013.  Mr Duggan, then (as now) Festival Director and Mr Tom Molony (then Chairman of Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group) and highly regarded seasoned Thespian, Mr Pat McGrath, were even incorporated into Biddy’s script for the Radio 1 version of the popular soap, “Glenroe”.

Pictured above, in better times, are (L to R) Mr Donal Duggan (Festival Director), the late Biddy White Lennon and Mr Michael Lowry, TD.

Biddy stayed locally in Holycross during her festival sojourns as adjudicator, including with Mr & Mrs Tom and Elizabeth Molony, The Green, Holycross. Indeed in the radio script for “Glenroe” it was mentioned that the Glenroe Players were on the festival circuit and met Tipperary Festival Director, Mr Donal Duggan and Committee Chairman, Mr Tom Molony, and the inimitable Mr Pat McGrath in Holycross at the festival, thus ensuring a modicum of fame for this Abbey-side trio.

Biddy reminded Mr Donal Duggan of this when they next met in 2013. “She was pleased with her stay here in Holycross”, said Mr Duggan, who brought her on a site-seeing tour of the Rock of Cashel and other historic places in the county; a traditional courtesy he affords all festival adjudicators.

Mr Duggan said he was saddened to hear of the passing of the popular actress/author; stating
“Biddy was a very competent adjudicator and very easy to work with. Her popularity from her years as ‘Maggie’ in “The Riordans” helped to attract huge audiences to the festival in 1984.  She went on to write the radio script for “Glenroe” having adjudicated at the Festival in 1984.  Ar dheis De a hanam”

Yet one other Thurles resident was well acquainted with Ms Biddy White Lennon. George Willoughby got to know Biddy through numerous appearances in “The Riordans”, during the years 1975/76, while working as a featured extra. “Being involved with the “The Riordans”, was like being a member of a close-knit family. The word ‘celebrity’ back then did not exist; featured actors and lowly extras like myself taking part, all used the same canteen facilities, on location”, said George.

“Filming “The Riordans” was quite radical for that time, with Outside Broadcast Units being used rather than the more usual TV studio setting”, said George. “Even if scenery and prop space had been available to build a studio farm, it would have been nigh impossible to rid audio tape of the sounds of then Dublin city life, with its constant drone of Ambulance/Fire/Garda sirens; overhead aeroplanes and endless traffic noise pollution”.

“To speed up the process of getting film back to the studio for editing”, continued George, “it was instead decided to film on a rural farm near Dunboyne in County Meath, although the series would have us believe it was set in a fictional townsland called Leestown, in Co. Kilkenny.”

“The Riordans” radically changed the rules of broadcasting” stated George.  “The rural characters portrayed by cast members like Ms Biddy White Lennon, inspired the creation of Yorkshire Television equivalents “Emmerdale”, which we so enjoy today. Even production crew from what was to be “Emmerdale Farm” visited “The Riordans” rural set to observe how RTE were managing this somewhat new phenomenon of Outside Broadcast Units”.

“Alas, for “The Riordans”, the music originally used to introduce each episode, Seoirse Bodley’s orchestral arrangement of the Irish traditional tune, “The Palatine’s Daughter” (Iníon An Phailitínigh), no longer plays on Irish TV, since the series was regrettably chopped back in 1979″, concluded George.

The Independent North Tipperary Dail Deputy, Michael Lowry, took centre stage on Ms Biddy White Lennon’s last visit to Holycross, Thurles in 2013, when he officially opened the 31st annual Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival in a packed Holycross Community Centre, where Biddy White Lennon, was the professional adjudicator.

Mr Lowry, who received a warm reception from the audience in the packed theatre in his home village, sponsored the local awards-winning Holycross / Ballycahill Drama Group production of the comedy, “The God Of Carnage”, by French playwright, Yasmina Reza, which opened the
festival on that particular night.

Mr Lowry has supported the festival for many years and is a popular figure with audiences. The attendance at the opening night also included his son, Councillor Micheal Lowry; members of drama groups from various parts of Co. Tipperary; the then “Rose of Thurles” Ms Emma Moore; Littleton’s Jim Ryan (MCC) and the now late Fr. Tom Breen, (PP), latter then also the Festival Committee President.

Mr Lowry lauded the organising committee on its work for the festival over 31 years and in particular Festival Director, Donal Duggan, who has been in that role for all that time.

The Holycross/Ballycahill group got the Festival off to “a great start”, according to the popular adjudicator, Ms Biddy White Lennon, “who was no stranger to Holycross”, as Michael Lowry pointed out. He recalled that in 1983 when the late TJ Maher, MEP, opened the first Festival in Holycross, only fourteen people were to be counted in the audience on that night.

The Festival had grown and developed over the years since then. “We have a fantastic organisation here, in Holycross, and I congratulate them. It is a totally voluntary organisation who have given endless hours to the festival.  Groups come from all over Ireland to Holycross and almost every year, groups from Holycross Festival reach the All-Ireland Finals.  Holycross is now established as one of Ireland’s major Drama Festival Locations”, stated Lowry on the night.

“The God Of Carnage” on that night was directed by Pat McGrath and the cast comprised of Jacqui Lacey, Martin “Marty” O’ Neill, Derek Doherty and Salome Hennessy. Lighting was by Paddy Connolly and Set Construction was by Pat McGrath, Andy Slattery, Catherine Lowry. Set

Design/Dressing was by Catherine Lowry and Marian Gilmore. Sound was by Joanne O’Neill and make-up by Peg Ryan, whilst Sally O’Rourke was in charge of Continuity.

The Set Crew comprised: Elaine O’ Dwyer, Gerry O’ Dwyer, Jack Henchion, Diana Lacey, Geraldine Henchion, Claire Ryan, Kevin Darmody.


TD Runs Up Drink Tab For €1,200 In Dáil Bar

Inside the Dáil Bar

According to last weekend’s Sunday Times, in the Dáil bar, one TD has run up a bill of €1,200 over the summer, despite the Dáil only sitting for just eight days. The Dáil’s Bar tab, in total, reached over €31,000 up to the end of last August.

We can now confirm we saw yesterday, one Irish Cabinet Minister quickly attempting to exit through the side gates of Dáil Éireann, being chased by a man waving a drinks bill, before being accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless person, who asked him for a “couple of Euro to get food”.

Dodging out of site, behind the front entrance security building, the Minister routed in his trousers pocket, before extracting a two Euro coin. Holding it up between finger and thumb he asked, “If I gave you this money, will you take it and buy whisky?”
“No, sure I stopped drinking years ago, Sir,” said the unfortunate dishevelled individual.

“Will you use it to gamble?” asked the Minister.
“I don’t gamble. I need everything I can get just to keep body and soul together, Sir”, said the starving man.

“Will you spend the money on greens fees at a golf course?” questioned the Cabinet Minister.
“Are you totally mad, Sir?  I haven’t played golf in 20 years“, said the now confused man, wishing he had never asked for help in the first place.

“Come quickly” said the Cabinet Minister,  “I’m not going to give you two Euro. Instead, I’m going to take you to my Dublin residence for a terrific dinner, cooked by my adoring wife’s fair hands.”
The starving, homeless man was astounded. “Sir won’t your wife be furious with you for doing that?  Sure I’m dirty, and I probably smell like shit.”
“Hey, not to worry”, said the Minister, “I want my wife to see what a man looks like who, in just a couple of short years, has given up drinking, gambling, and golf”


O, To Have A Little House Mr Varadkar

Old Woman Of The Roads
by Padraic Colum.

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.

One wonders if the Co. Longford poet Padraic Colum (1881 – 1972) were penning his poem “Old Woman Of The Roads” in today’s Ireland, what would be the title? “The Lament Of A Homeless Person Neglected by Government” perhaps.

“Ireland has one of the lowest levels of homelessness,” stated Mr Leo Eric Varadkar yesterday which perhaps suggests that the problem is being ignored.

You will of course remember Mr Varadkar, the Irish Fine Gael politician and now the leader of a minority coalition government since June of this year; same government which includes quite a number of Fine Gael members. Representing the Dublin West constituency and ‘people who get up early in the morning’, since 2007, Mr Varadkar has previously served as a Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (2011 to 2014, the period that himself and Mr Alan Kelly increased train fares from Thurles to Dublin by 100%); a Minister for Health (2014 to 2016), and yes, actually the Minister for Social Protection from 2016 to 2017.

The Cabinet, which Mr Varadkar presides over, of course contain numerous individuals who, like himself occasionally demonstrate ‘Learner Driver Syndrome’, in their cases continuously failing to ‘engage brain, before operating mouth’.

Take a look at just one other example; TD Mr John Halligan, the Irish Independent politician who has served as Minister of State for Training and Skills since May 2016 and who is surprisingly an elected TD for the Waterford constituency. This same week Mr Halligan; (anxious to grab a “see me appearing to do important work” headline with the national press), threatened to visit North Korea on a diplomatic mission to halt a nuclear Armageddon.

An impressed Chairman of the Workers’ Party and the supreme leader of North Korea, Mr Kim Jong-un, (as one does in every good home these days), got his wife Mrs Ri Sol-ju to polished the silver and run their china under the tap, before laying it out in the parlour. He himself nipped out to clip the hedges and mow the lawn at the front. Now after all that effort, what happens?  Mr Halligan decides (following a rumoured kicking from civil servants at the Dept. of Foreign Affairs), not to travel. Now between you and me and without in anyway trying to cause panic; Waterford people should be keeping one eye gazing skyward, as I can confirm from first hand sources that Mr Kim Jong-un and the wife are feeling rather ‘pissed off ‘ over the whole damned affair.

I mean Mr Halligan, having failed to acquire a permanent second Catheterisation laboratory down in Waterford, actually instead nipped out to meet with the Palestinian authorities on the West Bank, not to mention the Israeli authorities on the opposite bank, just a few months previously, and you can visibly see today the almighty changes immediately brought about by his diplomacy, which focused the world on his true political ability as a possible leader in Europe.

Anyway, enough on Mr Halligan, sorry, we were chatting about Mr Varadkar and his excuse yesterday for allowing 8,374 Irish people remain homeless during the week of September 18th to the 24th, 2017, across Ireland.

Homelessness, as everyone knows, has had its roots well-watered by past and present Governments failing to legislate. Their failures to correct a broken housing system; low Rent Supplement Payments; low Incomes; forced Social Welfare reductions; Landlords selling; Bank repossessions; Shortages of property stock; Properties refusing to accept Rent Supplement in an effort to avoid Income Tax; High Rents charged by Irish Get-Rich-Quick Landlords, acting out similar sagas as that which existed when we were being exploited by England Landlords; Vulture Funds, and finally a Governments decision to cut spending on social housing by a colossal 72%, between 2008 and 2012, and which now talks about reducing taxes, while they themselves have granted themselves massive salary increases.

Surely it’s time to change our system of elections.